Hoskins and Nola star as Philadelphia takes opener over Nats

Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Nola lift Philadelphia to win
Rhys Hoskins provided the offense, and Aaron Nola pieced together another outstanding performance to lead the Phillies to a 4-3 victory over the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday night.

Hoskins crushed a Ryan Madson fastball for a two-run shot to left field in the seventh inning to give the Phillies a 4-1 lead. He finished with three hits in the winning effort. Since returning to the lineup earlier this month after dislocating his jaw, Hoskins is hitting .338 with seven homers and 20 RBIs.

Along with Hoskins, Nola shared the spotlight. The hurler was remarkable, surrendering one run on five hits over 7 2/3 innings. He struck out eight and secured his 10th win of the season, marking the first time a Philadelphia pitcher has hit that mark before the start of July since Cole Hamels in 2012.

"I thought [Nola] got stronger as he inched towards the end of the game," manager Gabe Kapler said (see video). "Even there in the last inning - somewhere around that 105-pitch mark - it almost seemed like he was getting sharper. He was special tonight."



The Phillies encountered a threat in the final frame as Tommy Hunter surrendered two runs on a pair of hits, but Seranthony Dominguez came in to extinguish the flames and secure his sixth save of the season.

Dominguez had thrown 25 pitches on Wednesday, meaning Thursday should have been a day of rest.

"We didn't want to use Seranthony tonight, but that's baseball," Kapler said. "You lean on guys sometimes and that's what we had to do tonight."

The victory, coupled with an Atlanta loss, leaves Philadelphia just two games off the pace in the NL East race. It's early, but if the playoffs were to begin Friday the Phillies would have a seat at the table as a wildcard.

The Phils and Nationals continue their four-game set on Friday as Nick Pivetta takes the mound opposing righty Erick Fedde.

Injury Update

Pat Neshek is scheduled to make a rehab appearance with Double-A Reading on Friday. If all goes well it's possible he'll be activated from the disabled list early next week. The veteran reliever has yet to make an appearance this year as he's dealt with forearm and shoulder issues.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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